CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is
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The Right Word

Today — May 29, 2017 (permalink)

The literature of graveyards is known as "epitaphiana."
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Yesterday — May 28, 2017 (permalink)

Belated thanks to Rosa Viaca Mesquita for mentioning our dictionary of one-letter words in her blog post about letters in space:


“Do you know what ‘A’ means, little Piglet? It means learning, it means education, it means all the things that you and Pooh haven’t got.” —Winnie The Pooh

I found this quote in the book One-Letter Words: A Dictionary by Craig Conley, in which he tries to find the possible meanings that each letter can have when used by itself. It is quite interesting to find out a letter can be or mean so much. However I also like the possibility of a more poetic and abstract meaning.

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May 25, 2017 (permalink)

How would you shelf our Magic Words: A Dictionary?  Someone didn't like where the Hennepin County Library placed it: "This book has been shelved with the Pagan/Wiccan sections within the Library.  Seeing this, I thought it was a book of a different nature.  Instead, it is a book listing all of the words one might use in slight of hand and parlor tricks.  Not at all related to where it was shelved."  Indeed, our book seems to need its own special shelf in between two sections; as Library Journal said, "Despite its undeniable appeal to New Age audiences, Conley's (One-Letter Words: A Dictionary) book of more than 700 words and phrases is just as relevant to the linguist and language enthusiast as it is to Occult followers."  

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May 22, 2017 (permalink)

Here's our video explaining how to find your magic word, even if you're a skeptic.
We've had some extraordinary reactions to the video.  K. wrote: "I really enjoyed following your video. It's a grey rainy day, with congested sinuses for me, so I tend to feel 'stuck inside my head.' During the video, paths into my ancestral past broke thru the congestion, and I felt like there was un-congested energy expanded back and forth in time. Something subliminal lurks behind your words!"  And Jim wrote: "Totally awesome!  Everything you mentioned is a thought I've had at one time or another... so I feel that this video does contain octave alignments for experiencing the phenomenal energy currents."
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May 10, 2017 (permalink)

From Gate to English, Book I by Will David Howe, 1915.
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May 9, 2017 (permalink)

Anti-prosopopoeia (1815) is being against figures of speech in which an abstract thing is personified or an absent or imaginary person is represented as speaking.
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May 7, 2017 (permalink)

From Grammatical Diagrams and Analyses by Frank P. Adams, 1886.
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May 3, 2017 (permalink)

From Gate to English, Book I by Will David Howe, 1915.

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Here are two words from Jugend, 1910. 
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April 30, 2017 (permalink)

You guessed it -- Non Sequitur is a one-off.  By Mary Elizabeth Coleridge, 1900.
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April 29, 2017 (permalink)

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April 16, 2017 (permalink)

"When parents name a boy William Slavens McNutt he can do nothing less than live up to his name and be a natural born story teller."  From Hearst's International, 1922.
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April 9, 2017 (permalink)

An ornate capital O from The Harvard Lampoon, 1878.  For some surprising meanings of the letter O, see our very own One-Letter Words: A Dictionary.
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April 6, 2017 (permalink)

Six obfuscating, redundant, didactic, paradoxical, pedantic neologisms when none would do.  From the San Diego Air and Space Museum.
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April 5, 2017 (permalink)

Here's the spirit of "Whack-fol-tol-loo-ra-loo!"  From Fun magazine, 1879.  This should also be of interest: How to Believe in Your Elf.
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April 4, 2017 (permalink)

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April 2, 2017 (permalink)

From Grammatical Diagrams and Analyses by Frank P. Adams, 1886.
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March 30, 2017 (permalink)

Don't tell this to the man in the moon.  From The Elements of English Grammar by George Philip Krapp, 1908.
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March 22, 2017 (permalink)

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March 12, 2017 (permalink)

Here's some profanity from Pick Me Up, 1892.
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